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By Hanif S. Kalia
Jul 10 - 16, 2000

World Congress on Information Technology is among the oldest and biggest events in the IT industry and is organized every two years by World Information Technology Services Alliance at different locations of the world. This year it was held at Taiwan, Taipei from 11 June to 14 June 2000. The main objectives of the Congress are as follows:

a) Sharing of ideas among the top leaders of IT Industry.

b) To provide a platform for collaborations among the participants.

c) To discuss the present and future trend of the Industry and help set a direction for the future.

This year the theme of the Congress was

IT- for a Better World

Keeping in view the invaluable importance of this summit, the KalSoft Pvt Ltd, a project of Kalia Group decided to send a strong delegation comprising of Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Memon, Chief Executive and Khurram Kalia, Director Software Development, to represent Pakistan in this World forum.

The highlight of the whole trip was obviously the privilege of listening first hand to the gurus of the IT industry as they unfold their visions and ideas for the future. What in their view has the future in store for us? How will this new and emerging technology affect our social and commercial lives on individual as well as collective scale?

What are the expected benefits and the potential threats associated with the advent of IT in our lives? In general how should we prepare ourselves for what is to come?

Some of the big names among the list of speakers and delegates


l William (Bill) Gates — Chairman and Chief Software Architect Microsoft

2 Carleton S. Fiorina- President and CEO of Hewlett Packard HP)

3 James Young- Chairman and Co-founder of Red Hat (Linux)

4 Chambers-President and CEO of Cisco Systems

5 James S. Gilmore- Governor of Virginia, USA

6 Dr. Robert A. Mundell- Noble Prize Laureate

7 John Patrick- Chairman, Global Internet Project, IBM

8 Dr. Lester Thurow-Professor from MIT

9 Stan Shih- Chairman and CEO Acer Group

All speakers at the Congress were very prominent.

Secondly, but perhaps as important was to join about 1700 delegates from all over the globe on a platform conducive to sharing of ideas and forming of collaborations and joint ventures.

Simultaneously allowing the parties involved to not only exchange information and update their knowledge but to enable them to complement each other's work if feasible, thereby broadening their markets and brightening their future prospects.

Moreover, transfer of technology to developing countries can also take place.

Thus, it is an excellent platform for over all growth of the delegates attending, both in individual as well as corporate terms.

Especially for a country like Pakistan, to explore new avenues for enhancing our software exports. Lets take a look at all these aspects in turn, with respect to the visit of our delegation.

Future trends

The gist of all speeches and presentations were as follows:

i) The IT revolution is happening NOW. And this present generation is responsible for taking the decisions that will impact the future generations for a long time to come. The history will judge us on the correctness of our decisions because the decisions taken today will either make or destroy the nations.

ii) Digital Economy is taking over the conventional economy.

iii) Soon we are going to be working in a borderless environment

iv) The modus operandi of conducting business will be revolutionized. The end user will dictate the terms directly to the manufacturers/suppliers. Most of the intermediaries will be eliminated in the supply change.

v) We are moving towards an era of less paper office and more and more of business being conducted electronically.

vi) Every company will be compelled to carry out business through the Net.

vii) Virtual universities will take over the conventional education system.

viii) The computing is shifting from the desktops and PCs to PDA (personal digital assistants), mobile phones and wireless computing.

ix) Every appliance will become more smart and intelligent. An appropriate example is that of a future refrigerator which will have an Internet address and which will be intelligent enough to account for the supplies and place orders to manufacturers and suppliers at appropriate times.

x) WAP (wireless access protocol) will prevail giving more mobility to everyone.

xi) Governments will have less and less control on Commerce and business and only those governments will be successful which will provide better infrastructures and facilities to their citizens.

Contacts and collaborations:

Many meetings were held and all the delegates were more than willing to do business with Pakistan. All of them acknowledged that as far as quality is concerned Pakistan is as good as any other country of the world. However, most of them went on to add that the name of our neighbouring country was more popular due to the quantity of software exported by them.

However, they were willing to initiate similar projects with Pakistani companies as well. One important thing that they all advised was to have a presence especially in USA. This provides a lot of confidence to the other party, the absence of which is a big hurdle in winning good projects.

Similarly, they were also willing to support us in training our manpower in the latest technologies the training of which is not currently available in Pakistan, or if it is, is very limited.

Thus, all in all, it was a very rich experience, in terms of knowledge gaining, in terms of exploration of new avenues for Pakistani software export, in terms of expanding our contact base.

It is our heartfelt prayer to Almighty Allah that in the next WCIT congress to be held in Adelaide, Australia in 2002, Pakistan will participate in a much stronger fashion and with a stronger and more dignified image in the IT industry of the World. Aameen!

Courtesy: By Kalsoft (Pvt) Limited.